It seems fashionable to say that the avalanche of stories about John Edwards' $400 haircut are about painting him as effeminate, or unmanly. They aren't. These $400 haircut stories are about telling a huge share of potential Democratic voters that Edwards is not like them and will not represent them well. Most of these people would like to be paid $400 a week and would never think of spending it on a haircut. They are rightly suspicious that someone who would spend $400 on a haircut might not understand and, perhaps, should not be trusted to represent, their interests.
This story and other similar ones, always about Democrats, are designed to say: these are rich people, who do not understand average families and by their actions as seen here would not represent their interests. A large number of potential Democratic voters can be wedged away by the beliefs these stories evoke to Republicans, who claim, quite falsely, to represent families and family values.